Baby-Led Weaning Basics
We've been big baby-led weaning fans at our house ever since our quadruplets skipped spoon-feeding.
You see, I'm not ashamed to admit that even as a dietitian and a nutrition professor, I had a terrible time spoon-feeding my oldest daughter Molly. Molly hated solid food, she hated being fed...and most days I feel like she even hated me!
Fast forward to our next kids, Molly's little siblings, the quads. By the time they hit the 6 month mark and were ready to start solid food, I was coming at feeding my squad with a whole new attitude, mindset and feeding philosophy...and it was called baby-led weaning.
I had heard about baby-led weaning from other friends and nutrition colleagues, but I'm going to be honest, I didn't really get it - until we tried it... so I want to share some of the basics about BLW.
So What Exactly IS Baby-Led Weaning?
Baby-led feeding is an alternative to spoon-feeding purees. It is an approach to starting solid foods based on the premise that babies who feed themselves the wholesome foods provided by their parents accept a wider variety of foods through their lifetime, avoid picky eating and even have lower rates of overweight and obesity as they get older.
Sounds great...but how do you do it!
Well before you can go all gung-ho on baby-led weaning, you have to determine if it is right for YOUR baby. I've put together a checklist that will help you determine "Will Baby-Led Weaning Work for YOUR Baby?"
Click above to access the checklist, and once you've determined that your baby is ready and that BLW is right for your baby, I've got some other great resources for you to check out below.
And What Exactly is So Bad About Spoon-Feeding?
Well, I'm going to let the founder of the baby-led weaning philosophy speak on this one....and that's Gill Rapley, PhD and co-author of the Baby-Led Weaning Book. She literally wrote the book on the topic (which is a fabulous deep dive on the what and why of BLW) and in her book she says,
"Spoon-feeding isn't bad; it's simply not necessary. And while many babies who are spoon-fed go on to enjoy mealtimes without any problems, feeding babies this ways carries a potential for creating problems that don't exist with baby led weaning."
I teach a modified approach to baby-led weaning where purees and spoons are fine - provided that the parent or caregiver preloads the spoon and the baby is allowed to self-regulate his or her own intake as the baby learns to manipulate the utensil.
Being able to tolerate and handle pureed textures is an important part of learning how to eat. We just stick to "naturally" pureed foods such as full fat yogurt or applesauce, and feed other foods in their original, intact form with modifications made as necessary for tolerance.
Where Can I Learn More About BLW?
If you're ready to jump on the baby-led weaning bandwagon, here are a few more resources I've created that you might want to check out:
- Download "Will Baby-Led Weaning Work for MY Baby" checklist here
- Familiarize yourself with BLW as a feeding philosophy on my "About BLW" page here
- Read some of my BLW articles here
- Check out my BLW videos which you can find here
And if you're feeding babies or toddlers in your house, you might want to check out my private facebook group "Baby-Led Weaning Recipe Ideas". You can join that group here, where you'll find a really supportive group of parents and caregivers sharing ideas on this innovative way to feed our kids!
I also do a regular facebook live show where we talk about all sorts of things related to feeding your family, and you can get notified about upcoming episodes by checking out the page here.
Well...I hope that gives you a good foundation to get started on your own baby-led weaning journey!
If you have any questions, feel free to pop into the comments below or shoot me an email...I'm always here to help and I wish you the best foray into starting solid foods with YOUR baby!